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Preview Thu Jun 12 2014
Last summer marked my first venture to the Taste of Randolph street festival. Located in the heart of the city's West Loop neighborhood, the festival presents us with stellar dishes found in top-notch establishments located along the culinary row of Randolph Street, with limitless options for items along the spectrum from trusted classics, to zany innovations. Along with the cuisine element, Taste of Randolph is, in my opinion, one of the city's best kept secrets when it comes to their fabulous lineup of musical talent. Ranging from fledgling artists to seasoned favorites, Taste of Randolph festival is ideal for those looking for a lively and bustling, yet comfortable atmosphere for some concert-going, while enjoying a delectable bite of West Loop fare.
If you're looking at the lineup and unsure of which act to see each day, I've rounded up a few acts for your menu, if you will, of the street festival's stellar musical lineup.
7:30pm, West Stage: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah has been around for quite some time. Forming eccentric indie rock such as catchy ballad "The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth," the group's lead singer's raspy drone is unmistakable, and honestly, it's not for everyone. However, for me, his voice is absolutely magnetic, and fits the sound effortlessly. They've just released their new record this year, Only Run, and it will be interesting to view their progression over the past decade during their set.
9:00pm, East Stage: Cayucas
I can easily say that I have become a bit Cayucas-obsessed this year (please note my review of their show a few months back that basically read as a love letter). Their sound is beachy and inventive, and they put on a great live show. Combining West Coast vibes with edgy rhythms and deliberate vocals, the group produces an energy-laden sound that is sure to get the crowd moving and smiling all the while.
6:00pm, West Stage: Kins
Kins is a newer group, with haunting vocals and interesting rock riffs. Placing a strict emphasis on percussion and its ability to shape-shift a song into something unparalleled, their songs are mesmerizing and unique. Their set will be an excellent way to start the day off on a good note.
8:00pm, DJ Dance Stage: DJ Trew
The day has wound by, so it means that you might just need to dance to some hypnotic beats. This would be perfect timing for a set by DJ Trew, a local DJ who has some serious material stacked up on his Soundcloud account, ranging from vintage tunes to reworks of newer hits. Each one is just as good as the last, and this would be a nice dance break for you before you continue on to listen to the evening's headliner.
9:00pm, West Stage: Kaiser Chiefs
Kaiser Chiefs have been on my concert bucket list for a long, long time. Bringing us British post-punk, the group brings the sass and keeps it coming throughout all of their material. You can't help but want to join a mosh pit during their music, even if you had no prior interest in doing so. Their songs are packed with angst and will close Saturday with a burst of raucous energy.
3:00pm, West Stage: The O'My's
The O'My's have the most inventive sound out of any of my picks thus far. With a sound reverberating from electronic, to hip-hop, to gentle soul, their sound is extremely interesting and dynamic. I know that my attention would be fixed on them in a live setting, entranced as they move from musical style to a new genre time and time again.
6:00pm, West Stage: Royal Teeth
I bet that you've heard Royal Teeth's hit single at some point; on a commercial, to be exact. The cinematic song "Wild" has made several media appearances, due to its fresh beat and wanderlust-inducing melody. The rest of their material, likewise, is filled with a youthful spirit and song lyrics bursting with emotion. This is your chance to see this group before they grace a gargantuan stage in front of a sold out crowd.
9:00pm, East Stage: The Revivalists
Forming in 2007 and hailing from the glorious city of New Orleans, the Revivalists combine soul with funky rhythms to create a dance arena all their own. They've released two full-length albums and one EP, and combine strong vocals with tight rhythms. If you're looking for a taste of Southern soul music, this would be the place to be.
The Taste of Randolph Festival will run from Friday, June 13, through Sunday, June 15, running down six blocks of Randolph Street in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood. A donation is suggested at the door for entry, and allows for access to music, dining, and artisan shopping stands throughout the Festival.